What's the opposite of highlight?

I don't mean the verb to highlight or to emphasize something, so downplay isn't an option.

Instead I'm looking for the opposite of "the highlight of the movie, concert, show".


I would most likely say low point.

  • that would be the german antonym Tief-punkt. And high point seems not very common, that's why I asked, I couldn't find better words than low point – Hauser Nov 6 '11 at 14:09
  • I don't think you need a "better" word than it, personally; it's quite common and means exactly what you're talking about. @Barrie's suggestion of nadir is a more eloquent word meaning the same thing, though. – user13141 Nov 6 '11 at 14:11
  • @onomatomiak So can I use the "high and low points of a show" for a report or "highlights and low points". Sounds both a bit awkward to me, but I'm no native speaker – Hauser Nov 6 '11 at 14:21
  • 5
    I think either would be fine - neither sounds particularly awkward to this native speaker. If you really want symmetry, though, lowlight is a word, if a newish one; you could say "highlights and lowlights" and everyone would understand you. You could also just say the show had its highs and lows. – user13141 Nov 6 '11 at 14:51
  • 2
    Low point is what NME uses for festival set reviews, and also used more often at the Guardian than nadir, in this context. – Hugo Nov 6 '11 at 16:57

Nadir is the opposite of zenith, but could conceivably be used, as in The nadir comes when the leading actor tries to sing.

  • 1
    +1 I think that's perfectly valid usage. The only caveat I'd add is that you can't really pluralize it (whereas there can be more than one highlight to a show). – user13141 Nov 6 '11 at 14:09
  • +1 thanks fot this foreign word, I still hope there is a more common english term. @onomatomaniak good point, plural should be possible – Hauser Nov 6 '11 at 14:12
  • 4
    @Hauser: Nadir has been part of the English language since the 15th century, so I think it's a bit much to call it a "foreign word". Would you say that of all words with Latin roots? – FumbleFingers Nov 6 '11 at 14:22
  • 1
    @Hauser: Neither word sounds particularly "Anglo-Saxon" to me, if that's what you mean. But I actually suspect that metaphorical zenith (as opposed to the astronomical context) may even be less common than nadir (which is effectively always a simple literal term). Perhaps we just move in different linguistic circles! – FumbleFingers Nov 6 '11 at 14:53
  • 2
    @FumbleFingers: "nadir" and "zenith" are of Arabic origin. In that sense, you could call them foreign words. They are used in exactly the same form in other languages too, no plural forms, just like in English. – Irene Nov 6 '11 at 16:21

Why don't you use lowlight?

  • 1
    makes less sense to me, imho you can only emphasize something by using e.g. a (spot)light, you cannot set it in the background this way. Highlight is a metaphor, building the anti-form doesn't work here often very well imo, that why you use downplay for the verb – Hauser Nov 6 '11 at 20:49

How about a low ebb?


I would go for nadir, but I have one problem with it: a highlight in the movie example can be other things (a theme, a broader message), too, whereas nadir is restricted to meaning a point in the story line, or a particular scene in the movie


If you're going with "highlight" as a verb, I'd offer "diminish" as an antonym.

His year was highlighted by his league leading batting average but diminished by his poor performance during the World Series.


How about downfall? Could it fit in this context? "What was the highlight of the week? and the downfall?"

  • 1
    Downfall usually means something else entirely. 'The downfall of the wicked' is not just them having a bad day. – Tim Lymington Nov 1 '13 at 23:04

opposite of highlight is low profile

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.